A Vietnam Trilogy: Veterans and Post Traumatic Stress, 1968, 1989, 2000

By Raymond Monsour Scurfield | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 1. TROUBLED WAR VETERANS — OVERBLOWN
MYTH, OR REALITY?
Just how harmful is it to be involved in war — any war? How many US war veterans continue to be sorely troubled for months, years and decades by their war trauma experiences? Our understanding of this issue fundamentally impacts our emotions, values, perceptions, beliefs and judgments concerning the true and full impact and cost of war: on its combatants, their families and friends, and on the nation. Ultimately, our views on these topics fundamentally influence our convictions concerning the nation’s policies regarding defense and war, and the extent to which we hold the government and society responsible for their commitments to the millions of military veterans and their families. Finally, our understanding of the issue will influence whether we think that books like this one are merely hyping an already overblown myth, or are an accurate reflection of reality for many more veterans — past, present and future — than we could ever wish or fear to be true.Over the decades, negative stereotyping of Vietnam veterans has been dramatized in popular movies, in books and on television, and has been reported in a number of research studies and mental health reports about Vietnam veterans. Yet, the issue is not of historical interest and relevance alone; recently, the same issue has been raised concerning US troops in Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan. Concern is mounting in the context of:
1. The four highly publicized murder-suicides at Ft. Bragg involving highly trained and seasoned combat veterans and their partners soon after the soldiers had returned from Iraq and Afghanistan. An Army investigation

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